More British humor

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Herein Michael Gove, Conservative MP for Surrey Heath, former Times journalist, and one of the brightest men in British politics, or just in Britain, writes the definitive sendup of the bullying television interviewer Jeremy Paxman. As any American who has watched him knows, Paxman is proof that, however repulsive some American television journalists are, Britain has done us one better.

And here is Daniel Finkelstein on the mystery candidate—not David Cameron, who seems poised to become the next Conservative leader, but Gordon Brown, who seems poised to become (some time between now and spring 2009) the next prime minister. Finkelstein, as he readily admits, has not had a perfect record of picking the next winner. He started off in the Social Democratic Party, an offshoot of then very leftish Labor, then left it for the Conservatives, convinced that a New Labor alternative attractive to voters could never emerge. So in 1997 he was working in the Conservative central office, as John Major's Conservatives got swamped by Tony Blair's New Labor. In 2001, he stood as a Conservative candidate in Harrow West, a suburb in northwest London with a significant Jewish population; he hoped it would swing against Labor. It swung the other way. He's better, as the above piece shows, as an analyst than as a prognosticator: Brown is certainly not going to take his advice and resign as chancellor of the Exchequer. But Brown is, to a considerable extent, an unknown quantity on policy.

Will he be as pro-American as Blair? Well, he vacations in Cape Cod and has been sighted buying magazines at the newsstand at Harvard Square. But which way does that cut? Cape Cod and Cambridge, to my way of thinking, aren't very pro-American these days. But my sense is that Brown is more on our side.